got orange juice ::

Loving this new ad by the Got Milk? campaign, but instead of milk, this is how I feel every time I open my fridge to a barely drinkable amount of orange juice. 

 
Advertisements

oscar moments 2012 ::

Oscarmoments2012

When it comes to celebrating the Oscars, the only thing I can compare it to so people will understand is The Super Bowl. All season long I watch the top contenders, mentally betting on which ones will make the nominee list. Then the playoffs happen and I’m glued weeknights and weekends watching the Golden Globes, SAGs, and BAFTAs unfurl before me. Then, finally, after months of waiting, sometime in late February, it’s game day, the big day…Oscar Sunday!

This year, The Academy, and all of us watching at home, celebrated the 84th Oscars ceremony. After the original host and producers called it quits, Billy Crystal and Brian Grazer came to the rescue.

So today I just wanted to share with you my favorite Oscar moments from last night.

First up, the intro. Pulling from the minds of Emmy producers, traipsing through each nominated film was in fact, hilarious. George Clooney kissing the comatose host, Billy arguing with his Moneyball writing team and then eating Minnie’s pie, and the final montage of encouragement spooling before him from the reels as he walked on stage…brilliant!

Then the awards.

I really really really wanted Bridesmaids to win for Best Original Screenplay, but alas The Artist was deserving. Also, I was completely torn between whom I wanted to win for Best Actress. Ultimately, I leaned toward Meryl, I absolutely adored her in Iron Lady, plus I was glad to see her win her third Oscar after 17 nominations. But oh my, the speeches!

It was no surprise that Octavia Spencer would win Best Supporting Actress (despite the fact I wanted Melissa McCarthy to win too), but her speech was a joyful surprise. When she read the teleprompter and said she had only 10 seconds left and was freaking out on national television, my entire Oscar watch party doubled over in laughter. It was awesome, it was genuine, it was a true Oscar moment. Watch it here.

Then there was Christopher Plummer at 82 years of age accepting his golden statue as the oldest Oscar winner in history! My favorite line from his speech, “You’re only two years older than me darling, where have you been all of my life?” I think now he can do away with the ever-plaguing shadow of The Sound of Music.

And then there was Meryl and her opening remarks on how half of America let out an anguishing sigh when they announced her name and not Viola’s, but hey, forever nominated and seldom a winner, I think Meryl deserved her dance with the golden man of the hour. Next time Viola; next time.

The Cirque du Soleil act was amusing and I didn’t quite understand why Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz were paired to present. Emma Stone was funny opposite Ben Stiller (loved the dress) and I absolutely loved the pre-taped nominees’ “Favorite Movie Moments,” which you can watch here. Also, nice intro by Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis for the music categories and loved how the cast of Bridesmaids continued their Scorsese inspired drinking game last night.

But in the end, The Artist, which I wanted and predicted to win it all, shined above the rest. The black and white silent film that romanced audiences everywhere and paid homage to the great place of Hollywood, well, seeing that film last December was a true movie moment for me.

See the full list of winners here :: http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Oh, and I made a cake too! 

Oscarcake

…And the Oscar Goes To ::

84th-academy-award-oscars-post

Tonight is the night of all nights, when the world of movies gathers on one red carpet to hopefully be summoned up to one stage. Tonight in the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, the 84th Academy Awards will commence and all will hold there breaths…and the Oscar Goes To…

China :: Part Two

First morning in Hangzhou. After figuring out how the showers worked and discovering X rated advertisements underneath the door, we went down to the lobby where Georger was already waiting for us. We took a taxi to breakfast at the base of the walking district. Candice and I found a table, and Georger appeared with steaming bowls of glass noodle soup, soy juice, and Chinese churros. Candice got a lot of stares. After trying everything (that’s right, everything), I took a liking to the glass noodle soup and Candice quickly became addicted to soy juice.

1morning
2breakfastdrive
2china_part_2_05
3breakfast
4breakfast
5breakfast
6breakfast

After breakfast, we slowly hiked/walked up the Wushan (a hill) to the Cheng Huang Pavilion. To me, it looked like a temple. It had six stories and once we were at the top, it gave us a spectacular view of Hangzhou and its famous West Lake. Something of note, each doorway has a raised bottom frame, so that one has to step over it in order to get to the next room. That being said, we learned, courtesy of Georger, that one should not linger in the door frame over the raised platform; apparently that’s what call girls do.

7pagodaentrance
8pagodainside
9china_part_2_12
12china_part_2_21

Outside the pagoda was a giant bell (I can’t remember why) and I had some fun and took the giant piece of wood suspended by red ribbons and gave it a ‘gong.’

10china_part_2_18

We began our descent, walking around the park for a bit and found a woman and child feeding geese, old men gossiping, and stone carvings of Chinese birth symbols. I found my dragon , although heavily weathered, and took a picture with it.

11
13china_part_2_23

Next up was the Hangzhou History Museum. The air conditioning was a real treat and we saw ancient artifacts from the past dynasties and a scale model of The Great Canal spanning from Beijing to Hangzhou. We came upon some mummies and Georger yelled, “bones!” and quickly ran away.

14china_part_2_24

Before heading to lunch, we took a tour of the “walking district” and stepped into another world. Wooden shops lined the streets, and behind every door, window, or entryway was another adventure. Some shops sold puppets while others sold tea. In the center of the road were golden lucky Buddha statues and caricatures of LeBron James. We stopped at one cart where a man spun a dial, which landed on a particular animal. He would then draw the animal with liquid sugar on a hotplate, wait for it to solidify, then hand the treats out on a stick. Like a child, I wanted in on this action. I spun the wheel and it landed on a rabbit.

15china_part_2_25
23china_part_2_38
17sugarbunny
18china_part_2_29

With my sugar rabbit in hand, we stopped at a stall where an old couple was hand making cotton comforters. The shop was small, and one would place their order and come back to pick it up. Comforters ready to go were suspended in the air, and the giant loom took up most of the space. A few shops down was a stall selling pretty blue and white fabric pieces. Georger explained that they make the designs by sticking wax onto the fabric then dipping it in blue dye. That way, they could just peel off the wax and whalah, you would have your blue and white design!

22mattress
16china_part_2_26

Getting off the main drag a bit, Georger guided Candice and I into different pharmacies that felt like what I imagined an apothecary’s place would be like. Large waiting areas and glass filled jars lined the walls. They sold everything from plants and roots to teas and actual pills. One pharmacy had a peaceful garden winding throughout. The next shop sold silk fans. We stepped into the narrow space (as if stepping into Olivander’s wand shop), and fans were spun about the ceiling, displayed in glass cases, and took up the entirety of the walls. I wanted something portable and effective (I was about to have a heat stroke) and I ended up buying two fans; one for me and one for my sister as a souvenir.

24china_part_2_40
25china_part_2_41
26pharmacy
27pharm

Then it was lunchtime. Georger led us to this very nice and intimate restaurant and we sat in a narrow room with only one other table besides ours. I enjoyed the flower tea and my sugar rabbit was on its last life line. We had tons of food and tea, and afterwards needed to walk off our meal back in the walking district. Georger informed me of a pickle shop and I had to look for my mother’s sake. She loves pickles. I couldn’t stand the smells for more than a minute, so we quickly left.

19china_part_2_32
20china_part_2_33

It began to rain as we exited the main road and we quickly ran down through streets looking for a semi-long-term shelter. Luckily, we were near a mall and regrouped inside Starbucks. I was jealous of their selection, wishing the American Starbucks had such treats, but I settled on ordering my usual mocha frappucino. I began my order by saying, “ni hao,” and the barista responded back in full Chinese. Apparently I wasn’t passing as an American. I gave her a smile and placed my order in English while she laughed off the language barrier. She spoke perfect English.

21streetshangzhou
28walking

After the rain passed, we all hopped into a taxi back to the hotel so Candice and I could pick up our gifts for Georger’s parents, which is tradition in Chinese culture. From the hotel, Georger drove us in a borrowed car around West Lake and to the main government building (where we were going to pick up her dad a little later) and found ourselves in a canal history museum of sorts. It was interesting, reading about how the canal was created and how it shaped and impacted Chinese history and culture. Unfortunately, my stomach started to realize it wasn’t in the States anymore and begin to tumble.

29bikeumbrella
30china_part_2_49
31museum
32china_part_2_52
33museum

I bought a Sprite for my stomach and we continued our day in the historic Qiaoxi street block and on the steep Gong Chen bridge. 

34china_part_2_55
35china-part-2_56
36china_part_2_57
37

It was finally time to head to Georger’s home. Her home was in one of the many, tall and looming apartment buildings throughout Hangzhou, and after a fun little parking adventure, we climbed the five stories to the apartment. The door was made of metal and I felt like I was getting ready to enter a Dharma Initiative hatch. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. Once inside the compact apartment, we shed our shoes and traded them in for some slippers. Mrs. Xie was happy to see us and let us fall onto her comfy, oversized couch. We sat around for a little bit, watching Chinese soap operas on the television and bestowing our gifts onto the Xie household. Georger informed her mom that my stomach was turning and out of nowhere a large glass jar was put in front of me holding a liquor concoction of floating plums.

Everyone knows I’m a picky eater and so Candice and Georger had a bit of fun egging me on to eat the plums. As to not be rude, I smiled and stuck one in my mouth. It was like eating and sucking on a hard candy made of Robetessum PM, but hey, it worked.

After I swallowed three more of the plums, we watched a documentary on coffee (in Chinese) and almost fell asleep.

With Mrs. Xie, we picked up Mr. Xie back at the government building by the canal museum then headed out to dinner. Mr. Xie is a big deal I came to find out, and so we were immediately granted a private room on the top level of the restaurant. We drank watermelon juice, flower tea and wine. Mr. Xie and I were the only ones drinking the wine and at one point I was informed by Georger (who was translating the whole time between us and her parents) that I was drinking too slow. I had a couple of more glasses of wine with Mr. Xie and I ate everything that was ordered minus the stinky tofu. I tried it and had a gag reflex. Everything else was delicious. We had oysters (my first!), pig head, pig knuckles, 100 year egg soup (looks disgusting but is delicious), pig stomach (chewy) and dumplings. The food was on a turntable and we had helping after helping with each turn.

38food
42china_part_2_65
39china_part_2_62
43china_part_2_64
41china_part_2_61

Outside, the moon high in the sky, we piled back into the car. Mrs. Xie got out at a supermarket and walked home, and we dropped of Mr. Xie back at the apartment. Georger drove us back to the hotel and Candice and I just dropped dead onto our beds.

The next day would be our last in Hangzhou.